U.S. inks major defense agreement with Jordan

Remigio Civitarese
Febbraio 15, 2018

President Trump has threatened to retaliate against aid recipients like Jordan for having denounced his decision in December to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Wednesday, during a visit to Jordan., that his administration has a fairly well advanced Middle East peace plan that has been under development for a number of months. That's $275 million more per year than the current level. This MOU commitment highlights the pivotal role Jordan plays in helping foster and safeguard regional stability and supports US objectives such as the global campaign to defeat ISIS, counter-terrorism cooperation, and economic development.

"We'll continue to work together in pursuit of peace and stability", Safadi continued.

"But the president was clear also on his statement and as I just indicated in my statement, that the final status, the final borders in Jerusalem, are up to the parties to decide".

"I have seen the United States administration's peace plan".

Jordan, a longtime partner of the US and one of only two Arab nations to have full diplomatic relations with Israel, plays an instrumental role in the region and in Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts.

Al-Safadi reiterated Amman's position that the two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict was the "only viable option", though it was "under threat by unilateral Israeli actions".

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson came to Jordan on Wednesday with the promise of a fattened aid package, engaging in a gilt-edged charm offensive created to assuage tension with Amman over moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem as well cuts in aid to the Palestinians.

When Pence visited Jordan in January, King Abdullah II gave him an unusually stern and public lecture about the Jerusalem decision. While describing it as "fairly well advanced", Tillerson said it was up to Trump to decide when to release the plan.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he would not cooperate with the United States in its efforts as a mediator. "Thank you, for I know that you played a very vital role", he said.

The Lebanese presidency denied there was any departure from protocol and Rafik Chalala, who heads Aoun's media office, said Tillerson had arrived a few minutes earlier than expected and that the meeting began on time.

It was Tillerson's third stop in a fence-mending Middle East tour following a year of disruptive moves by the Trump administration that have left traditional USA allies in the region, including Jordan and Turkey, fuming. "We'll save a lot. We're not going to be taken advantage of any longer".

Jordan hosts nearly half of the roughly 5 million Palestinian refugees and their descendants in the region.

A United States decision to cut funding for a UN agency that provides education and health services to Palestinian refugees throughout the Middle East has further soured relations, with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and others openly declaring that the USA has forfeited its traditional role as a mediator in the peace process.

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